Prostitutes, drugs and unwillingness to pay taxes: Hunter Biden faces 9 charges in California
On December 7, Hunter Biden was indicted on nine tax charges in California. The special counsel's investigation into the business dealings of US President Joe Biden's son is intensifying as the 2024 presidential election approaches. Writes about this APNews.
The new charges - three felonies and six misdemeanors - join federal firearms charges in Delaware that allege Hunter Biden violated laws banning drug users from owning guns in 2018. They come after a plea deal that would have spared him jail time fell through over the summer, leaving the case at the stage of a possible trial.
Hunter Biden, special counsel David Weiss said in a statement, "spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle instead of paying his tax bills." The charges relate to at least $1,4 million in taxes that Hunter Biden owed between 2016 and 2019, when he admitted to struggling with addiction. The taxes have since been paid.
If convicted, Hunter Biden, 53, faces up to 17 years in prison. The special counsel's investigation remains open, Weiss said.
In her response, defense attorney Abby Lowell accused Weiss of "bowing to Republican pressure" in the case.
“Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name had not been Biden, the charges in Delaware and now California would not have been brought,” Lowell said.
The White House declined to comment on the accusation and referred questions to the Justice Department or Hunter Biden's personal representatives.
“The charging documents filed in California, where he lives, detail expenses on everything from drugs and strippers to luxury hotels and exotic cars, in short, everything except his taxes,” prosecutor Leo Wise wrote.
The most interesting details of the charges
Biden Jr. allegedly spent a total of $872 on "various women" and "adult entertainment"
From 2016 to 2019, Hunter Biden allegedly spent $683 on “various women,” including people with whom he had romantic or sexual relationships, and $212 on adult entertainment, including a sex club membership. exotic dancers and strip clubs, writes Fox News.
“Between 2016 and October 15, 2020, the defendant spent this money on drugs, escorts, girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, as well as exotic cars, clothing and other personal items, in short, on everything except taxes,” – the indictment says.
The total amount of $872 is just a fraction of the millions Hunter allegedly spent over the years.
Biden's son allegedly listed payments to strippers and escorts as business expenses rather than personal expenses.
On January 28, 2020, Hunter met with his accountant in California and reviewed the general ledger of his own business, Owasco PC, to confirm the accuracy of the expense items.
“When looking at the Office Expenses and Professional and External Services tables, the defendant used a yellow marker to highlight personal expenses there. But these expenses should not have been there at all,” the indictment says.
In addition, the document noted, a Venmo payment of $1500 made on August 14, 2018 to an exotic dancer at a strip club was listed not as a personal expense, but as a business expense.
“Defendant described the payment in the Venmo transaction as payment for “artwork.” But the exotic dancer did not sell him any works of art,” the indictment says.
The defendant, among other things, failed to list as personal expenses an $11 payment to an escort for spending two nights with him.
Hunter argued that the money paid to sexual and romantic partners was salary to reduce his tax burden
According to the indictment, in 2018, Biden the son allegedly directed his personal assistant to include three women “with whom he had romantic or sexual relationships,” as well as a fourth woman associated with one of the three, on his payroll. and also provide them with medical benefits.
Biden, the son, knew the wages, which totaled $86, were a “false deduction,” but did not tell his accountants, the indictment said.
“These labor expenses were recorded on Owasco PC's Form 1120 as business expenses, thereby reducing defendant's income and, as a result, his individual income tax liability,” the indictment states.
Defendant falsely claimed that payments to strippers and sex clubs were expenses of doing business.
In a meeting with his California accountant on January 28, 2020, Hunter Biden allegedly falsely reported payments from his personal bank account and other wire transfers as business expenses.
“Many of the expenses that the defendant listed were not, as he knew, business expenses. These were personal expenses incurred during what he described in his memoirs as a “bacchanalia” in 2018,” the indictment states.
Biden's son allegedly listed one payment of $1248 for airfare for an exotic dancer who was scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to New York in September 2018
“Defendant transferred money to JP Morgan Chase to pay for personal expenses and falsely represented to accountants that the transfers were business expenses,” the indictment states. “In fact, the transfers from the Owasco, PC account to the JP Morgan Chase account were intended to pay for personal expenses.”
One such transfer in July 2018 was for $18 to an individual not named in the indictment, of which $000 was for a “golf club contribution.”
“In fact, at defendant's direction, $10 was used to purchase a membership to a sex club,” the indictment states, noting that Hunter attended the club with the person to whom he transferred the money.
Canceling a deal
The charges come as congressional Republicans begin impeachment proceedings against President Biden, alleging he participated in an influence scheme with his son. The House of Representatives is expected to vote next week to formally authorize the investigation.
So far, no evidence has emerged that Joe Biden, in his current or previous positions, abused his power or took bribes, although questions have been raised about the ethics of the Biden family's international business.
A separate and lengthy criminal investigation into Hunter Biden was expected to result in a plea deal in which he would have received two years probation after pleading guilty to minor tax charges and would have avoided prosecution on gun charges if he had stayed out of trouble .
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (D-N.C.) credited the new charges to two Internal Revenue Service investigators who testified before Congress that the Justice Department mishandled and was "slow" in its investigation of the president's son. Department officials denied the allegations.
Two IRS officials, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, said the indictment "fully vindicates our diligent investigation."
The new charges against Hunter Biden include felonies for filing a false return and tax evasion, and misdemeanors for failure to file and pay.
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The defense has said it plans to fight the new charges, likely relying at least in part on immunity provisions in the original plea agreement. Defense attorneys argue those provisions remain in effect because that part of the agreement was signed by the prosecutor before the deal was terminated.
Prosecutors disagree because the documents were not signed by a judge and are not valid.
Lowell said he plans to seek dismissal of the gun charges next week, calling them "unprecedented and unconstitutional."
Three federal gun charges filed in Delaware allege Hunter Biden lied about his drug use to buy a gun he kept for 11 days in 2018. Federal law prohibits "drug users" from owning guns, although the measure is rarely considered as a stand-alone charge and has been questioned by a federal appeals court.
His longtime battle with drug addiction worsened after the death of his brother Beau Biden in 2019, according to court documents and Hunter Biden's memoir, "Beautiful Things," which ends with him getting sober in 2015.
However, his gross income was about $7 million between 2016 and 2020, prosecutors said. They noted his roles on the boards of Ukrainian energy company Burisma and a Chinese private equity fund, as well as his position at a law firm.
Hunter did file the return in 2020, while a child support case was pending in Arkansas, and the taxes were paid by a “third party,” prosecutors said in court papers.
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